Parasite Outbreak in Bagged Salads Sickens More Than 200 in Eight States
A Cyclospora outbreak linked to bagged lettuce has sickened 206 people in eight Midwestern states and sent 23 to the hospital, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday. No one has died.
The outbreak has led to several recalls of salads made at a Fresh Express production facility in Streamwood, Illinois that were sold at major retailers Walmart, Hy-Vee, Aldi and Jewel-Osco, USA TODAY reported.
"[O]bviously there was some breakdown in the quality chain," Rutgers University food microbiologist Donald W. Schaffner told The New York Times. He said the size and spread of the outbreak suggested "some rather significant sanitary breakdown in the production of this food."
FOOD RECALL: Fresh Express recalled products with iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage due to Cyclospora. Prod… https://t.co/mi3qsBhvXz— CDC (@CDC)1593380259.0
The parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis causes an infection called cyclosporiasis when humans eat or drink contaminated food or water, according to the CDC. The main symptom is watery diarrhea, but it can also cause stomach cramping, appetite loss and fatigue. It can last from a few days to longer than a month and is typically treated with antibiotics.
The first major foodborne cyclosporiasis outbreak was in the mid-1990s, Schaffner told The New York Times, and no one knows exactly what caused it. The current outbreak marks the third year in a row that there has been an outbreak of the illness during the warmer months.
"It's likely due to the quality of the water used to irrigate the produce, and it probably has something to do with human fecal contamination of that water, but of course there's a whole lot of unknowns," Schaffner said. "Very often with these fresh produce outbreaks, we never learn the definitive cause."
Illnesses from the current outbreak have been reported in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin between May 11 and June 17, the CDC said. So far, the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation has uncovered a Fresh Express bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage as the likely culprit.
The outbreak has already prompted a number of recalls.
1. Brand: Marketside brand Classic Iceberg Salad
States: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Bag Size: 12 to 24 ounces
Use By: 05/19/2020 through 07/04/2020
2. Brand: Little Salad Bar brand Garden Salad
States: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Bag Size: 12 ounces
Use By: 05/01/2020 through 06/29/2020
3. Brand: Hy-Vee brand Garden Salad
States: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Bag Size: 12 ounces
Use By: All dates
4. Brand: Jewel-Osco Signature Farms brand Garden Salad
States: Illinois, Indiana and Iowa
Bag Size: 12 ounces
Use By: 05/16/2020 through 07/04/2020
Jewel-Osco Voluntarily Recalls Bagged Signature Farms Garden Salad Due to Possible Cyclospora Contamination… https://t.co/nqaUR2DeXr— U.S. FDA Recalls (@U.S. FDA Recalls)1593184537.0
Then, on Saturday, Fresh Express issued a voluntary recall of all the salads made at its Streamwood facility that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage or carrots. The recall only impacts salads with a "Z" at the beginning of the Product Code in the upper-right-hand corner of the front of the package. The recalled salads have a Product Code of Z178 or lower.
"Our immediate thoughts and concern are for those consumers who have become ill due to the outbreak," Fresh Express said in a statement Saturday reported by USA Today. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have issued a voluntary recall of both branded and private label salad products that were produced at the Streamwood facility and contain those ingredients."
The Fresh Express recall came after the FDA began an investigation of the Streamwood plant and raised concerns that some products not already recalled might be impacted, according to the FDA.
"Consumers should not eat, and restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve any Fresh Express products currently on the market that were made in the Streamwood, Illinois, production facility and contain either iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, or carrots," the agency recommended.
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.
If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
What was the climate and sea level like at times in Earth’s history when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was at 400ppm?<p>The last time global carbon dioxide levels were consistently at or above 400 parts per million (ppm) was around <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14145" target="_blank">four million years ago</a> during a geological period known as the <a href="http://www.geologypage.com/2014/05/pliocene-epoch.html" target="_blank">Pliocene Era</a> (between 5.3 million and 2.6 million years ago). The world was about 3℃ warmer and sea levels were higher than today.</p><p>We know how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere contained in the past by studying ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. As compacted snow gradually changes to ice, it traps air in bubbles that contain <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/annals-of-glaciology/article/enclosure-of-air-during-metamorphosis-of-dry-firn-to-ice/09D9C60A8DA412D16645E6E6ABC1892F" target="_blank">samples of the atmosphere at the time</a>. We can sample ice cores to reconstruct past concentrations of carbon dioxide, but this record only takes us back about a million years.</p><p>Beyond a million years, we don't have any direct measurements of the composition of ancient atmospheres, but we can use several methods to estimate past levels of carbon dioxide. One method uses the relationship between plant pores, known as stomata, that regulate gas exchange in and out of the plant. The density of these stomata is <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/095968369200200109" target="_blank">related to atmospheric carbon dioxide</a>, and fossil plants are a good indicator of concentrations in the past.</p><p>Another technique is to examine sediment cores from the ocean floor. The sediments build up year after year as the bodies and shells of dead plankton and other organisms rain down on the seafloor. We can use isotopes (chemically identical atoms that differ only in atomic weight) of boron taken from the shells of the dead plankton to reconstruct changes in the acidity of seawater. From this we can work out the level of carbon dioxide in the ocean.</p><p>The data from four-million-year-old sediments suggest that <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2010PA002055" target="_blank">carbon dioxide was at 400ppm back then</a>.</p>
Sea Levels and Changes in Antarctica<p>During colder periods in Earth's history, ice caps and glaciers grow and sea levels drop. In the recent geological past, during the most recent ice age about 20,000 years ago, sea levels were at least <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/292/5517/679.abstract" target="_blank">120 meters lower</a> than they are today.</p><p><span></span>Sea-level changes are calculated from changes in isotopes of oxygen in the shells of marine organisms. For the Pliocene Era, <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2004PA001071" target="_blank">research</a> shows the sea-level change between cooler and warmer periods was around 30-40 meters and sea level was higher than today. Also during the Pliocene, we know the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature07867" target="_blank">significantly smaller</a> and global average temperatures were about 3℃ warmer than today. Summer temperatures in high northern latitudes were up to 14℃ warmer.</p><p>This may seem like a lot but modern observations show strong <a href="https://journals.ametsoc.org/jcli/article/23/14/3888/32547" target="_blank">polar amplification</a> of warming: a 1℃ increase at the equator may raise temperatures at the poles by 6-7℃. It is one of the reasons why Arctic sea ice is disappearing.</p>
Impacts in New Zealand and Australia<p>In the Australian region, there was no Great Barrier Reef, but there may have been <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF02537376.pdf" target="_blank">smaller reefs along the northeast coast of Australia</a>. For New Zealand, the partial melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is probably the most critical point.</p><p>One of the key features of New Zealand's current climate is that Antarctica is cut off from global circulation during the winter because of the big <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3402/tellusa.v54i5.12161" target="_blank">temperature contrast</a> between Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. When it comes back into circulation in springtime, New Zealand gets strong storms. Stormier winters and significantly warmer summers were likely in the mid-Pliocene because of a weaker polar vortex and a warmer Antarctica.</p><p>It will take more than a few years or decades of carbon dioxide concentrations at 400ppm to trigger a significant shrinking of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. But recent studies show that <a href="http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/521027/" target="_blank">West Antarctica is already melting</a>.</p><p>Sea-level rise from a partial melting of West Antarctica could easily exceed a meter or more by 2100. In fact, if the whole of the West Antarctic melted it could <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.695.7239&rep=rep1&type=pdf" target="_blank">raise sea levels by about 3.5 meters</a>. Even smaller increases raise the risk of <a href="https://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/preparing-new-zealand-for-rising-seas-certainty-and-uncertainty" target="_blank">flooding in low-lying cities</a> including Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.</p>
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